The top 5 stories of the week for April 26-30

1. Barker found guilty of murder

A Portage County jury last Friday convicted Adrian Barker of murdering Kent State student Christopher Kernich in November.

The jury found Barker guilty of murder, felonious murder, felonious assault and tampering with evidence. Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci said the minimum sentence required by law is 15 years to life.

“Justice was served,” Vigluicci said following the delivery of the verdict.

Kernich was walking home from the bars in the early-morning hours of Nov. 15 when he was assaulted. He was taken to the hospital, where he died Nov. 21. A second suspect in the assault, Ronald Kelly, is scheduled to go on trial May 5.

2. College Fest 2010 ends peacefully

Unlike last year, when the annual College Fest block party ended in a student riot against the police, this year’s festivities ended with few issues.

Officers from the Kent Police Department and several other law enforcement agencies began clearing out parties at around 10:15 p.m. Saturday.

Some in the crowd of thousands threw bottles at the police officers, and many joined in a chant of “F—k the police.” But the people in the crowd still went back toward campus without any major incident, and the street was silent by 11 p.m.

3. Relay for Life raises more than $80K

A near-constant rain didn’t douse the spirit of participants at last weekend’s Relay for Life at the Liquid Crystal Institute track.

The walk, which lasted from 10 a.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. Sunday, raised $80,838.47 for cancer research. That amount topped last year’s total by more than $2,000.

“Relay for Life gives us all the opportunity to celebrate the cancer survivors in our lives and support them in their fight against this disease,” an announcer said at Relay for Life’s closing ceremony. “… Relaying is how we choose to make a difference against this disease.”

4. KSU observes ‘Take Back the Night’

Kent State kicked off its “Take Back the Night” observance Wednesday night with a speech by Katie Koestner, the first survivor of date rape to speak out nationally.

The events of Take Back the Night are designed to bring light to sexual assault nationally. A campus march followed Koestner’s speech, and events continued last night with a candlelight vigil.

“I don’t want your pity; I want your strength,” Koestner said in her speech. “I want the next time that you feel disrespected, that you say something. I want the next time that someone is objectifying someone else, that you say something.”

5. College of the Arts names new dean

The university named John Crawford, interim dean of the College of the Arts, as the full-time dean last Friday.

“It’s an honor to be able to continue in this role of dean of the College of the Arts,” Crawford said. “… It’s a really good team of people, and I’m excited about the possibilities ahead.”

Crawford said his main goal is to continue expansion of the college. The School of Theatre and Dance will move to the Music and Speech Center this summer, and the School of Art will also likely move to a new building as part of the planned university renovations.